About

PURPOSE

The purpose of this award is to encourage young adults across Arkansas to read.  The award recognizes books in two divisions: Level 1 (7th-9th grade) and Level 2 (10th-12th grade).

HISTORY

The Arkansas Teen Book Award began in 2009 as a cooperative effort between public and school librarians across the state. Arkansas recognizes quality children’s literature through the Charlie May Simon and Arkansas Diamond awards, yet the acknowledgment of young adult literature had been greatly neglected. Enter six Arkansas librarians whose goal was to fill this gap. The steering committee for the teen award now consists of public librarians and school library media specialists from varying backgrounds and service areas around the state.  Each year, dozens of volunteer readers working with teens across the state give their time to reading the nominated titles.

TITLE SELECTION AND VOTING

Nominations are accepted from the public and all eligible materials are included in the yearly reading lists.   These books are read and voted on by teachers and librarians across Arkansas to create a manageable reading list. This reading list is distributed across the state and then teens cast their votes for their favorite titles to determine the ultimate winners of the awards.

STEERING COMMITTEE

The steering committee is composed of seven members including: three public librarians, three school librarians, and one representative of the Arkansas State Library.  With the exception of the State Library position, all members agree to serve a minimum four year term. Open calls for steering committee applications are made when the need arises and announced through various listservs.  It is HIGHLY recommend that those interested in a position serve as a reader or moderator for the awards prior to applying to the steering committee.

The current steering committee members are as follows:

  • Nina Darley, Teen Librarian, Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library
  • Cathy Howser, Coordinator of Children’s Programs, Arkansas State Library
  • Jami Kath Harrison, Librarian, Central Arkansas Library System
  • Lynette Thetford, Library Media Specialist, Nettleton Junior High School
  • Katherine Higginbottom, Library Media Specialist, Cedar Ridge High School
  • Alicia Murray, Library Media Specialist, Rose Bud High School
  • Manda Garrison, Programming and Outreach Manager, Saline County Library

Arkansas Teen Book Award By-Laws

2 thoughts on “About

  1. After spending years promoting the Charlie May Simon lists and the Arkansas Diamond Primary lists with my elementary students, I wanted to take this opportunity to express my dismay with the ARTBA process and voting timeline. The timelines do not work for school librarians and our patrons. It would benefit the cause to align the voting process similar to the aforementioned awards. Voting immediately after school resumes is especially difficult in larger schools. Librarians need time to promote the process and get students involved. Is there a process to evaluate the process and its partnership with schools? I would love to see this as a successful reading promotion in my district, but despite the work I have put into this, the major obstacle is when the voting takes place.

    • Lory, I don’t know if anyone ever responded to your request because there has been a lot of turnover in the steering committee of the award, and our two “leaders” are now gone. We have discussed this problem, and the way I’ve decided to deal with it (I’m at Nettleton Junior High School.) is to present the students with the list of books as early as possible – it is released early September – and promote them throughout the school year. Then, since we are a one to one school, I have them vote BEFORE they go home for summer – we’re starting tomorrow. I was looking at the spreadsheet for this year’s award and noticed that there is a high school that had many of their students vote today. The school librarians have complained, but the process works well for the public librarians to be able to promote them all summer. If we do it any differently, we would have to skip a year because we try to get the books with the most recent copyright date so they won’t be old news when the students read them. Hope this helps. I’m sorry if you didn’t get a response – I noticed you sent this in 2015! 😦

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